For some time, the rumours have been circulating that Google is pulling out of the Australian market. Why, you may ask? It’s simple, the newly proposed laws where they would be required to pay news media companies when displaying stories in Google news concerns them most and is forcing their hand.
Within Australia, around 85% of us use search engines, with 95% of them using Google as the search engine of choice. If Google were restricted and pulled out, the Australian market would be in tatters. Apart from being an efficient and leading online tool, small business relies on Googles SEO marketing strategy and have to pivot it towards other search engines whose strategies are remarkedly different.
We believe there is too much at stake for Google to exit the market and that we won’t be left without a search engine that SEO experts rely on.
The Path to Change
The year 2020 was life-changing for so many people and businesses, and for Google search, it was pivotal. When everyone was looking for answers, this giant of the tech world held power and access to information. The most search phrases on Google search for 2020 were:
- Election results
- Kobe Bryant
The first two results delivered life-changing implications for users, and Google search delivered user-friendly, accessible and timely information.
In January of 2021, it was reported by popular news giant the Sydney Morning Herald that Google was intentionally removing Australian news sites from their search results. The government saw the move from here to order that publishers content be paid for.
A Google spokesperson admitted to the Sydney Morning Herald that:
“We’re currently running a few experiments that will each reach about 1 per cent of Google Search users in Australia to measure the impacts of news businesses and Google Search on each other.”
This experimentation was expected to continue investigation through February. However, the Australian government deemed this move to continue experimentation as disproportionately controlling of the local democratic landscape.
If we look at this closer, it’s the News giant Murdoch media, who feel they should be compensated for receiving traffic through Google search. It seems like a backwards concept and can be compared to an Uber driver paying you instead of you them.
So, how did it get to this point? First, do Newscorp and other media publications have legitimate reimbursement claims for the organic traffic they receive? The answer to that is not according to Google. They don’t believe they should be forced to compensate media outlets for traffic referred to them.
Precedent, is there one?
While it’s not an exact scenario, but there is sort of a precedent.
You may recall that in 2010, Google withdrew from the Chinese market after it had been a victim of a cyberattack within China. A bit more than ten years later, Google is all but inaccessible from China, and Baidu is their leading provider.
Additionally, in 2014, Google New functionality from Spain, after their local government passed a law that forced companies like Google to pay news publishers for their stories. This news search platform has been missing from Spain and will continue to be so in the near future.
Where to From Here?
Google wants to find a workable solution from all reports, so they have the following message in search results where the link takes you directly to a video by the Managing Director for Google Australia, Mel Silva.
“You may have heard about a proposed law. We are willing to pay to support journalism.”
The Australian people are putting their trust in the local government and Google to work together for a fair and workable solution.
Is Google Leaving Australia?
So, is Google leaving Australia? It doesn’t appear so, and we don’t believe it will. This isn’t because it would significantly disrupt our business as an SEO agency, but more so because there is too much at stake. In Australian culture, most people associate the internet with Google and have likely never used any other search engine. They say they are getting on google rather than saying they are using the internet. This free and easy access is definitely something Australians would find difficult to live without, even with access to other search engines. Google is the best and many years in front of other services for delivering effective information.